|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6069th Meeting (AM)
NEPAL SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE DESCRIBES ‘IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS’ IN PEACE PROCESS,
HOPES WORLD COMMUNITY UNDERSTANDS LONG-TERM STABILITY FAR FROM BEING ACHIEVED
Ian Martin Briefs Security Council for Final Time as Mission Head;
Nepal ’s Representative Requests Six-Month Extension for UN Mission
The Special Representative in Nepal, Ian Martin, in his tenth and last briefing to the Security Council today, described the many “important achievements” in the peace process there, as well as the remaining challenges, adding that the Nepalese people’s demand for peace, for change and for inclusion was unmistakable.
After the briefing, the representative of Nepal requested a six-month mandate extension for the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).
Mr. Martin, who also heads the United Nations Mission in Nepal, said, “I hope that their political leaders will not let them down,” expressing the similar hope that the international community understood that long-term stability was far from being achieved in Nepal. Despite the many demands made of it, the international community should remain concerned for the 27 million of the poorest people of Asia, who deserved a better future.
He said that one of the most important developments since the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2009/1) had been submitted was the agreement on the composition and terms of reference of the special committee to supervise, integrate and rehabilitate Maoist army personnel. The committee’s first meeting had been held today. There had also been progress regarding the work of the Constituent Assembly and cooperation among political parties towards the drafting of a new constitution.
He said there had been discussions among the major parties, including between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) -– now renamed the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) –- and the Nepali Congress about greater cooperation in completing the peace process and drafting the constitution. The Nepali Congress had ended its boycott of the Legislature-Parliament. The Government’s efforts to bring an end to the violence by armed groups in Tarai through negotiations had now resulted in initial agreements on conditions for talks by four such groups.
However, there had been fresh clashes between the Maoist Young Communist League and the Youth Force Nepal (UML). Maoist trade unionists had used violence against the media. The murder of a woman journalist in Tarai exemplified the weak rule of law. Public discontent was mounting with the inability to maintain the electricity supply. Of particular concern was the recruitment by the Nepal Army, although the 2006 ceasefire agreement had committed both parties “not to recruit new people”. That controversy might be indicative of difficulties ahead.
He said the peace process had been founded on mutual commitments by the Maoist and non-Maoist political parties, comprised in the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. For all the progress achieved, he feared that there was now a danger that those fundamentals were being challenged and eroded. A number of things had led some to question the sincerity of the strategic choice the CPN(M) committed itself to, including the actions of Maoist cadres, that involved violence or threats of violence and did not respect pluralism or the rule of law; the failure of the party leadership to take firm action against those who committed such acts; and internal ideological debates which did not convey a clear long-term adherence to multi-party democracy.
“It is crucial, now that the CPN(M) leads the Government, that it acts consistently in a manner which allays these doubts,” he said. Responsibility rested, too, with other parties. The emergence of Madhesi parties in the Tarai was a strong reminder that the commitment of inclusion for all groups in all aspects of the State must be carried out, if continuing disaffection was not to lead to further violence and ethnic division –- “perhaps the greatest threat that could lie ahead for Nepal”.
Most immediately, however, the spirit of the original agreements regarding the armies must also be maintained, if a critical post-conflict challenge was to be overcome and a stable peace was to be achieved and sustained, he said. Only if both armies were respected by negotiators on all sides, and if both armies recognized their need for change and their subordination to democratic multiparty governance, was the special committee likely to reach an outcome that would stabilize the peace.
He said that one needed change to which no political party and neither arm was yet truly committed was the need for an end to impunity. In more than three and a half years, not a single perpetrator of a major human rights violation had been brought to justice. A Secretary-General’s recent report noted a recent release by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of its investigation into disappearances in Bardiya district in 2001 and 2003, citing 156 such cases linked to State authorities, and 14 similar cases attributed to the CPN(M). The report also documented systematic use of torture in the Royal Nepalese Army Chisapani barracks. He said that, while promises had been made two years ago to investigate the disappearances, only now was legislation to establish a relevant commission being considered.
“The wounds of Nepal’s conflict will not be healed by denial or by compensation alone, and require the effective implementation of the promises made to pursue truth and justice,” he said. Meanwhile, impunity continued to prevail for violations committed since the end of the conflict. The CPN(M) and other political parties were quick to protect their supporters from justice, rather than support the impartial application of the rule of law.
He said that the great strength of Nepal’s peace process had been the capacity of Nepalese stakeholders to pursue dialogue to bridge their differences. However, the weakness of the process had been the failure to implement commitments that had been made.
“In my opinion, the need now is, therefore, not only for a renewed basis of understanding and cooperation, but also for a continuous mechanism for ensuring such implementation,” he said, noting that past agreements for a High-Level Joint Monitoring Committee to monitor whether all understandings and agreements were being implemented, or for a High-Level Peace Commission, among others, had never been carried out. “My strong advice to the parties, whether they enter into a new understanding or recommit themselves to those they are already bound by, is that they now establish such a comprehensive implementation mechanism,” he said.
If he had one particular regret, it was that the parties did not take the United Nations offer in late 2007 to assist by supporting the implementation of the peace process commitments more generally, or in the case of arms monitoring alone. It could have, for example, assisted in the impartial monitoring and implementation of the return of property, which was a constant impediment to political cooperation. He said the parties had not made full use of all the United Nations had to offer, notwithstanding their recognition that UNMIN’s presence had value well beyond its specific electoral and arms monitoring functions.
“I shall leave Nepal with some anxieties, but few regrets,” he said, noting that the two most remarkable moments of his tenure had been when the people of Nepal had taken their future into their own hands. In the 19 days of the People’s Movement of April 2006 and in the Constituent Assembly election of April 2008.
After the briefing, the representative of Nepal, while understanding the concerns regarding the delay in the peace process, said Nepal’s peace process was unique and had its own pace. It was important that agreement had been reached on the formation of the special committee regarding the integration/rehabilitation of the CPN (Maoist) army personnel in the cantonments through consensus. In view of the remaining tasks in the integration/rehabilitation issue, Nepal had requested a six-month extension of UNMIN. It was the intention to terminate the United Nations monitoring requirements by 23 July. The Government had no objection to proposals for further downsizing of UNMIN.
He said Nepal’s peace process had come a long way since 2006 and had completed several important milestones, such as election of the Constituent Assembly and the declaration of Nepal as a federal democratic republic. He was confident that the process would be brought to a logical conclusion resolving all the remaining issues through dialogue and mutual accommodation.
The representative of Costa Rica said Nepal served as a successful example of democratization and peacemaking, thanks to the efforts of the Nepalese people, but also to the United Nations support. He was, however, concerned at the fact that minors in the former Maoist army still had not been dismissed. He hoped that the first meeting of the special committee opened up opportunities to start addressing other matters, including the return of property. He was also concerned at transitional justice activities, in particular regarding the disappeared people. Emphasizing that Nepal should realize that the international community would like the process to reach a swift end, he encouraged strict compliance within agreed timeframes with commitments made.
The meeting began at 11:15 a.m. and adjourned at 11:55 p.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record